Saturday, 10 August 2013

Ivan Hlinka, Tennis, Canadian Hockey, and Pokemon?

Okay so I forgot yesterdays post, and almost today's as well.  I've been fairly busy the last few days but I figured I should at least try to get a post in before nights end.  It's gonna be short and sweet, but a few different things to talk about today.


First to something that isn't exactly hockey related.  Well, it isn't at all.  But as a Canadian, I feel I should say it, this week I'm excited for tennis.

And no, not because of the commercials running on TV luring youth away from hockey and into tennis.  I, of course, don't agree with the commercial, but its a worthwhile tactic and honestly well timed and placed, considering that hockey is getting more expensive to play and getting more violent.  I'd never switch hockey for tennis, but I respect the commercial.

But no, the reason why I'm a tennis fan this week is the fact that at this year's Rogers Cup (aka the Canadian Open of Tennis), there were two Canadians in the semi-finals, and one who made it to the finals tomorrow against tennis star Rafael Nadal.  That is cool in so many ways.  Canadians don't often hold the spotlight in any sport besides hockey and women's soccer.  But its been a great year for Canadian tennis, climaxed by this tournament.  No Canadian has made it to the finals of this event in more than 50 years. Milos Raonic is one of tennis' biggest stars, and making the finals for him was a great result, but not totally unbelievable.  What is unbelievable, however, is the run by fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who completed a few huge upsets until he was defeated by Raonic in the semis.

And while I'm still not the biggest tennis fan out there, this is surely a huge day for Canadian sports and its fans in general.  And it can get even better tomorrow if Raonic can win the whole tournament at home against Nadal.


Now back to hockey.  First, I'll comment on the Ivan Hlinka tournament, which was the subject of my last article.  Since then, Canada was able to defeat Russia and then the strong American side to win the gold medal, and did so in very convincing fashion.  This is absolutely outstanding news for the future of Canadian hockey, who is facing the darkest time in their history right now.

Besides being reigning Olympic gold medalists, Canada has done very poorly in hockey in the last few years, with respect to what they usually can produce.  Their world championship performances have been awful.  Yes, many of their stars are playing in the playoffs at the time, but the sheer depth of Canada's team should easily be able to produce a gold-contending team every year.  The world junior teams haven't fared much better, failing to win gold since 2009 and winning a medal at all last year.  Yes, our expectations are extremely steep compared to most countries, but we have the players and resources to justify most of the expectations, and the results haven't been there.

Canada has seemed to get in the habit of sitting on a comfortable lead, and folding late; or not showing up for 60 minutes in a game, and coming up short after a last-ditch effort at the end.  Big leads are always a problem for Canada and the teams' attitudes.  But these kids at the Ivan Hlinka tournament not only dominated the tournament, but did so without putting the foot off the pedal, or looking any less calm than the first minute of the first game.  I think it was an outstanding effort by this team, and coach Dale Hunter deserves huge recognition for keeping the team in focus, while gelling together extremely good team.  If Sutter wasn't on board with the World Jr team already (who himself is really good at keeping teams calm and focussed himself, and his World Jr record shows it), than I'd say Dale Hunter would make an excellent coach for Team Canada again.  Heck, he could coach in the NHL again no problem, but he doesn't want to.

So once again, congrats to Canada's U18 team for winning the tournament, and looking so composed while doing so.  I'm sure we'll see some of those names in the NHL very soon.


Thats most of what I wanted to talk about today, but there is one more thing I want to bring up.  Today while surfing the web I found an article that featured NHL logos redrawn with Pokemon in them.  Pokemon and hockey are almost the last things I would ever put together, but this is actually extremely cool!  The logos are well done, and for the most part keep the nature of the logo intact, while clearly showing off Pokemon artwork.  I'd even go as far to say that some of these would make better logos than ones currently on NHL teams.

Here is the article featuring all of the artwork, including Detroit's, Dallas', Carolina's, Calgary's, Anaheim's, Nashville's, and other logos redrawn as popular Pokemon characters.  It even includes the BrockHawks, no joke.

Just for kicks, here are my two favourites: (Of course, no artwork credit belongs to me, I'm just a fan).

These are my 3 favourites, but there are plenty more.  The Pikachu/Lighting logo is cool, but too gimicky and obvious to use as a serious logo.  However, the Ursaring/Bruins logo is very well done and could pass as a proper logo, looking much fiercer than the other bear featured on this logo.  My favourite has to be the Pidgeotto/Red Wings logo. It works so well, and I'd proudly wear any jersey with that logo on it.  Plus with that logo, Detroit could definitely rebrand as the falcons, and I dont think anyone would complain with that look.  Overall, really cool concepts.

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